Portrait of a World on Fire

As we reach the breaking point of late-stage capitalism, as we wrestle with being under lockdown, and watch while the world burns right in front of us—it has become crystal clear to me why exactly film, art, human expression is so inescapably, heartbreakingly indispensable: the connection to our collective humanity is not lost. And filmmaking proves it.

Sure, I’ve probably watched dozens of films being on furlough and quarantine. It isn’t just the solace movies provide, but seeing directly into the psyche of the human experience that is indispensable at this time. If it weren’t for the writers, the directors, the actors, the MAKERS I would be going crazier than I already have—and I bet most people would too.

If we study cinema, if we really look, there are two fundamental truths, two fundamental stories that we tell. Love. And death. Sometimes we tell both stories at the same time. And we tell this story over and over again simply because what matters most to us is us.

Heartbreak. Union. Loss. Universal truths that are expressed in microcosm—every person’s situation is different, but the feelings are the same. This is the connection. The thing that unabashedly and without prejudice strips everyone of their details to reveal the truth of humanity. We can’t NOT care. The whole point of a film is to GET the audience TO care, correct?

So when I finally watched Portrait of a Lady on Fire it dawned on me this is one of those films I’m sad I’ll never be able to see for the first time again. It is an instant classic and opened up a flood gate within I didn’t know was there (what’s writers block again?)…

We’re never going back to business as usual. My hope is that we can remember after this horrid era the hands that held us, helped us, and that we fight for each other—we certainly love seeing that reflected back to us on screen. Because we tell the story of love and how it matters too often to be ignorant of a system (cough capitalism cough) which depends on us to see profit before people. Always.

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